‘Wonderstruck’: Todd Haynes Blows Up Cinema, One Genre at a Time

‘Wonderstruck’: Todd Haynes Blows Up Cinema, One Genre at a Time
Maybe Todd Haynes has always been too smart for his own good. The 56-year-old director has been making films for nearly 40 years, but in some ways he’s still the Brown semiotics grad who can’t resist the siren’s call of form. As he admits, “I like to set up obstacles at times, because movies are ultimately about what the spectator brings to them.”

That would seem to make him an unlikely candidate to direct a young-adult adaptation, but his “Carol” and “Velvet Goldmine” costume designer Sandy Powell knew better. When she discovered Brian Selznick’s 2011 graphic novel “Wonderstruck,” which intertwines stories from 1927 and 1977 in a young-adult mystery with little dialogue, she encouraged him to adapt it for Haynes on spec.

Indeed, Haynes found the “Wonderstruck” screenplay downright Haynesian. “Brian’s script was so ornately and attentively cinematic,” he said. “Not just the movie references, but the use of
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